Reprinted with the kind permission of Life Extension.
December 1 2017. Findings from a meta-analysis reported on November 30, 2017 in Schizophrenia Bulletin reveal significantly lower levels of folate and vitamin D among individuals experiencing their first psychotic episode in comparison with control subjects.
Joseph Firth of NICM Health Research Institute at Western Sydney University in Australia and his colleagues analyzed 28 studies that examined blood levels of 6 vitamins and 10 minerals in 1,221 subjects who presented with first episode psychosis and 1,391 control subjects. They found significantly lower levels of the B vitamin folate and vitamin D in those with first episode psychosis compared to the controls. Rising levels of both vitamins were associated with decreases in symptoms. There was also limited evidence for an association between first episode psychosis and reductions in vitamin C.
“Although just one of many factors, it is important to recognize that nutritional deficiencies could certainly be contributing to the poor physical and mental health outcomes often observed in young people with psychosis,” Dr Firth observed. “Our research has found vitamin D and folate deficiencies, previously observed in long-term schizophrenia, exist right from illness onset, and are associated with worse symptoms among young people with psychosis. Since both of these nutrients are vital for physical and psychological wellbeing, this finding emphasizes the importance of promoting a healthy diet for young people with psychosis, and potentially suggests adding targeted nutritional supplementation to standard treatment could improve recovery – although this theory has yet to be tested.”
“While the results of our data analysis reveal that nutrient deficiencies are endemic in people suffering from first-episode psychosis, further work is needed to determine whether this is a by-product of the disorder, an effect from psychiatric medications, or whether lifestyle factors are to blame,” senior author Jerome Sarris added.